Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lok Satta demands a CBI probe into liquor scam

The Lok Satta Party today charged that the State Government has used the Anti Corruption Bureau to whitewash the liquor scandal in the State and said that only a CBI inquiry would expose and bring the guilty to book.

In a media statement, Lok Satta Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao said that going by media reports the ACB has named only Government officials and liquor traders as accused and given a clean chit to elected people's representatives including Ministers.

It may be recalled that the ACB had raided a number of liquor syndicates in districts in December 2011 and early this year and claimed to have unearthed records establishing a nexus between liquor traders on the one hand and politicians, officials and media on the other. Many of the licenses happened to be in the names of people below the poverty line, indicating that powerful people obtained them in their names. As the ramifications of the scandal began to unfold, the State Government transferred the ACB Additional Director spearheading the inquiry.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao said that the Government has succeeded in scuttling the inquiry through a change of guard going by the ACB's report to the High Court.

The Lok Satta Party, he recalled, has always been fighting for insulating the ACB from political interference by bringing it under the purview of a powerful and independent Lokayukta.

The Lok Satta leader asked why the ACB has not probed how people below the poverty line have come to corner liquor shops by paying crores of rupees as license fee? A thorough inquiry was warranted in the context of reports that Ministers and elected people's representatives belonging to almost all traditional political parties obtained the licenses in the names of non-descript people.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao demanded a CBI inquiry into the liquor scam the ACB by its very nature cannot and will not bring the guilty to book.

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